Have you ever wanted to find out information about your brain? You could measure the intracranial pressure, understand the anatomy, and catch conditions early.
Thanks to some of the latest medical research, this isn't so far out of reach. In fact, it may be closer than you think.
Scientists have developed dissolvable brain implants that can go into your brain. They track pressure, temperature, and more.
Using these technologies, healthcare providers can get information easily. Before this technology, they would have needed to do surgery.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's cover some of the basics.
Brain Swelling - How Dissolvable Brain Implants Can Help
There are many different kinds of brain implants that cover many uses, such as brain swelling. However, the most commonly used brain implants today include the following:
Bioresorbable pressure sensor
Bioresorbable spectroscopic probes
For the most part, physicians use these sensors in high-risk patients for monitoring purposes. These devices also make it easier on the patients since they don't have to undergo a repeat procedure to remove the sensor.
Bioresorbable Pressure Sensor
Bioresorbable pressure sensors have ultrathin silicon and silica. These light materials allow the device to monitor intracranial pressure, which is the amount of pressure that is inside of the skull.
A buildup of too much intracranial pressure can cause major problems such as mental changes and mood swings. Over time, it can even cause damage to the brain.
One of the most common complications after brain surgery is swelling. Scientists and engineers created these sensors to monitor swelling in the brain.
By detecting changes in intracranial pressure, physicians can get ahead of chronic problems. Otherwise, they could negatively affect the brain. This is especially important in patients who have recently had a brain operation.
Furthermore, it could prevent patients from getting needless operations in the future. By catching these kinds of complications early, physicians can perform less invasive techniques.
If the swelling were to continue developing, the physician wouldn't have the chance to catch these changes early. Then, the patient would require brain surgery again.
Bioresorbable Spectroscopic Probes
These brain implants are able to measure cerebral temperature, oxygenation, and neural activity in the brain. The probes are composed of photodetectors and filters that are thin enough to escape the body's immune response.
Over time, this instrument dissolves, eventually disappearing about seven weeks after implantation.
Gathering this kind of information about the brain is useful for chronic patients. These include patients who have neural disorders, like the development of Parkinson's.
Physicians can use this probe to ensure that their patients are getting enough oxygen to their brains. In turn, they can make faster calls when patients don't have enough oxygen.
In addition, they can learn more about their patients' neural activity. This tells them whether or not the nervous system is working as it should. With this information, they can make early diagnoses, catch disorders, and more.
Overall, this kind of technology is going to change the face of neuro-medicine. Tracking the neurons in our body isn't easy, but these implants make that job a little bit more feasible.
What Are the Benefits of Dissolvable Brain Implants?
The biggest benefit to using these wireless brain sensors is the fact that there aren't any wires. The patients don't need to worry about being attached to wires while their healthcare team is monitoring them.
And, because the brain implants are so easy to use, there are no major operations for the patient. Thus, there aren't any negative side effects to worry about.
These dissolvable brain implants avoid surgeries going in and coming out. As the name suggests, they dissolve into the bodily fluids so that the patient's healthcare provider doesn't have to go into the body to retrieve it.
These devices dissolve in the body, so healthcare providers and patients don't have to worry about infection. Likewise, they can avoid chronic inflammation and erosion in the body.
The precision of the device makes it easy for healthcare providers to catch developing conditions. This means that they can start preventative treatment before they develop further. A patient may have a condition but be asymptomatic. With these wireless brain sensors, providers can detect diseases early on.
The earlier they catch these conditions, the earlier the patient can start treatment. In most cases, the time of diagnosis is directly related to the prognosis of the condition.
These electronic devices are also helpful during crucial monitoring periods. These are points in time during which a healthcare professional may want to watch a patient.
With the brain implants, they can watch the patient without risking other complications.
What Are the Disadvantages of Dissolvable Brain Implants?
The science is fairly new, but there has been one disadvantage that scientists have identified. Fortunately, it is a very specific disadvantage that only applies to a small percentage of all cases.
This disadvantage is that signals for the wireless implant may be interrupted or altered if there is an injury during implantation.
When the device crosses the blood-brain barrier, the body sets off a cascade of biochemical responses. This may lead to a variety of situations:
Unnecessary mechanical strain
Release of glial cells
Loss of perfusion
Secondary metabolic injury
This can all lead to desensitization of the signal in the implant. However, as we said, these changes only apply when there is a significant injury from the implantation of the device.
As researchers unfold more and more about this new device, they're going to make the implantation process more precise. In turn, the rates for these incidences should decrease.
What Are Dissolvable Brain Implants Made From?
Scientists and researchers made these dissolvable brain implants from polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) and silicone. By testing the sensors in baths of saline solutions, they determined that the sensors are dissolvable inside the human body.
Before researchers began testing in humans, they did so in rats first. During these tests, they confirmed that the devices did dissolve without any complications over time.
Plus, the devices prevent patients from needing extra procedures. There's no need to remove the device, and the device eliminates needless emergency surgeries by discovering trends in brain recovery before dangerous side effects kick in.
The Story Behind Dissolvable Brain Implants
Dissolvable brain implants have been up and coming in the scientific community for decades. Now, physicians are able to use them in patients in the hospital rather than on rats in the lab.
Rory Murphy, a neurosurgeon at the Washington University School of Medicine in the United States has been working on developing a dissolvable pressure sensor that is thinner than the tip of a needle. In combination with John Rogers' scientific advancements, Murphy has been able to make this dream a reality.
John Rogers is a laboratory scientist at the University of Illinois in the United States. He has been creating flexible electronics for years, but the brain implant was a new level of scientific prowess.
The first brain implant that they built focused on brain pressure. As a neurosurgeon, this is of great importance to Murphy. He knew that he would be able to save lives by developing cost-effective, useful tools to learn more about the brain.
Murphy also understands how strenuous brain surgery can be. By creating a dissolvable chip, he has decreased the need for multiple surgeries for his patients.
From there, the brain implant has been making its way across hospitals and medical communities around the United States and now into Canada. While it is not widely accepted yet, studies are showing promise.
Are Dissolvable Brain Implants Covered by My Health Insurance Plan?
Because brain implants are so new, many insurance companies haven't developed plans mentioning them. So, it would be difficult to determine whether or not your insurance plan would cover the procedure.
However, it's worth noting that dissolvable brain implants are cost-effective. In comparison to other procedures, brain implants are a much better solution when considering the financial burden of repeat visits to your neurologist.
As we've discussed, these implants are developed using silicon and similar materials. Other wireless brain sensors use graphene and other more expensive materials.
Plus, the reduction in surgeries and procedures makes these brain implants worth the small investment. You're avoiding many other potential procedures by using a brain implant instead.
If these dissolvable brain implants interest you, you need to make sure that you have the right medical coverage. Whether you or someone you know may be a candidate for this technology, now is the time.
Get on the front of this medical advancement and enjoy all of the benefits that come with it. You'll be amazed at the results.
If you're interested in looking at your health insurance options, compare health insurance quotes with Insurdinary. We can help you find the insurance that you need to cover these implants as well as any other health interventions you may need.